Wednesday, April 07, 2004
UIC's student body is really not known for being outspoken on the issues of the day, although in the past few years, I've noticed a gradual increase in protests and mass meetings, usually regarding Iraq or GLBT rights, with the occasional unshowered dude handing out copies of The Worker in the student union. Well, today as I was heading to work after picking up my much-coveted Friar Tuck sandwich (chicken and cucumbers with hotsy-totsy sauce!), I walked into the middle of a protest in front of CCC. So, being the dedicated employee that I am, I sat down on a bench to watch the proceedings. Near the doors to CCC was a small group of pro-choice students with their faces covered, holding signs and red and black flags. They were shouting that they're American citizens and have a right to speak their mind, etc. etc., but it felt like they were only saying those things because that's how the protest script goes. Do all protests have such a hollow ring to them? The UIC police were keeping them from entering the building, I'm not sure on what grounds, and in a move that seemed to take the wind out of the protesters' sails, insisted they all dig out their wallets and show their student IDs.
Meanwhile, someone with a megaphone was shouting from across the street, and that was clearly where the action was so I walked down there. On the east side was the pro-choice crowd, although their position seemed to be broader and include anti-racism and anti-hatred. On the west side, all the way to Harrison, was the pro-life crowd. The pro-lifers had these dreadful posters showing aborted fetuses, and I looked all around for news cameras before I walked by because the last thing I want is to be on TV associated with such overemotional tripe. On the west side, I saw two guys get arrested, but I'm not sure what for. The whole event seemed tense but not violent. What prompted it in the first place, I don't know. Perhaps the pro-lifers were celebrating their new bulk-printing discount.
And just before I left the protest zone, some weird guy tried to sell me candy bars.